Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 2nd, 2021, 10:31 am 

charon » May 2nd, 2021, 8:56 am wrote:Well, reading it as a sort of sensible person with a decent command of English, your post reeked of impatience if not anger.

I'm sorry. Offending your olfactory sensibilities was wholly unintentional on my part. I was attempting to respond to your questions.

Presumably you feel insulted at being classed in with those who no longer work and just fill their time with this and that.

Presume as you wish. Class as you like.
You mentioned asking retired people whether they were bored. As a retired person who is acquainted with other retired persons, I felt qualified to answer in the negative.

Of course, if you've simply moved from one kind of work to another, which initiative I salute by the way, I wouldn't call you a retiree.

Call me what you would. Fact: I am 74 years old, collect a monthly pension cheque and get a 10% discount on Chinese buffet. (Or will, again, when it's safe to go there.)

That's just it. As usual, since it hasn't actually happened to any vast extent, it's all just speculative.

And never pretended to be anything else.

Which is pointless, really.

That also happens.

But, of course, it has happened in some areas already. What happened to those workers I wouldn't know.

If you found out, you would have a fact from which to start something pointful.

Obviously, but living just to please oneself IS a problem whether one recognises it or not.

I disagree. I do not think it would be a problem for most people. I think most people have more imagination and initiative than you give them credit for. Thus:

S - Everybody has ideas about what they would like to do, what they think they might have the talent for, what would garner them the respect of their peers, what would make them happy. They might be wrong - let them experiment and find out. If they need more education, let them go back to school. Let them attend workshops and apprentice to master craftsmen and refine their skills - there's no rush. What's so far-fetched about making shoes or tables? It doesn't have to be artistic or intellectual: lots of things need doing in a community; lost of things could be better made by hand; lots of things need repair; lots of people need bandages, rescuing and solace. If you have no skills or brains, you can still do a whole lot of good cleaning up some of the mess left behind by the industrial age.



But presumably you became impatient because you appear to have solved it by starting a store.

I didn't have a problem. I had an idea. In 1984. I've done five other kinds of work since then and still don't have a problem. I don't finding something else to do is a problem. If you think it's a problem, I hope you find a solution that works for you.

PS that joke is way older than I am. Back then, it was socially acceptable.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby TheVat on May 2nd, 2021, 11:08 am 

Several interesting issues coming out here.

One, how to differentiate between the deeper satisfactions of work (of any kind, wage-earning or no) and mere time-killing. That's a whole thread, right there. What satisfies a poet might not satisfy a builder, and dutiful philosophers would grapple with the word "work" itself.

Two, the tension between viewing humans as innately creative individuals or as pawns on some socioeconomic chessboard. The former suggests adaptations to whatever changes come (the optimist position) while the latter conjures a darker picture of victimization by broad social forces and technological changes. I see variations on both here, and middle positions as well.

Three, the tension between capitalism (which has no moral center) and the human need to provide a moral center, to nurture nonmaterial values, and to find some spiritual meaning. The philosophic task is often set as how to balance the needs for material sufficiency with the need for some moral and spiritual values. I'd say one particular task for all sides here is to grapple with the way capitalism keeps redefining wealth and material sufficiency. Most of us just get swept along by these waves of redefinition, unless we are very consciously making decisions about our true needs.

Let me toss this out, from the start of the 20th century, when Herbert George Wells was pondering these matters: what are the chances that we could end up with a two-tiered society like the one in Wells' classic, The Time Machine, with Morlocks below and Eloi above? The Morlocks could be analogous to robots, doing all the hard work, and the Eloi would be the pampered and pleasure-loving slackers that sing and dance and make love in the sunshine. Wells saw this as having a dark outcome, where the Eloi had been rendered mindless and victimized, and rendered a pessimistic verdict on humans living without challenges or real work.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 2nd, 2021, 1:51 pm 

For what it may be worth, this pessimist has a higher opinion of individual humans than Wells did. I don't think that, liberated from the anxiety of bare survival, people's brains would turn to mush, nor that they would squander all their lives in aimless pleasure. The first couple of weeks, maybe, and a small percent would succumb to addictions and risky behaviour, but most people would get cracking on all the things they haven't had time or energy or money for. What that is varies widely by endowments, circumstances, physical, social and cultural environment, sex and age: each will pursue whatever they have been missing.
(A recent landed immigrant from a troubled South American country once told me that he slept through his fist four days in Canada.)
I imagine that's what a single mother currently juggling part-time jobs at minimum wage, with no benefits would do - assuming the kids were in school. Then she'd redecorate her apartment and catch up with her children's lessons and get in touch with all her neglected relatives, and do a whole lot of very mundane, human, happiness-inducing things she was behind on. Next year, she might apply to a GED program or nursing school, or whatever - i.e. follow the dream she had to give up at age 16.
(Someone is bound to say: Well, that's a very particular individual, and maybe she'll be all right, but...
My hypothesis is that everyone is a very particular individual with very particular needs, abilities, hopes, ideas and aspirations. I sincerely believe that very few would choose idle self-indulgence in the long term.

This is probably not the place to bring up numbers, but I guess we all know the human population must decline for any long future to take place.

My opinion of societies is quite different.
Over the very long term, I envision something more like Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60147.The_Dancers_at_the_End_of_Time?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WqXLS9ymTD&rank=1
as the moneyed elite become more detached from the sources of their wealth and less involved with the rest of mankind. I don't really anticipate the major economic reorganization that a smooth transition requires: what's much more likely to happen is a global collapse of interlocking systems.
What happens after that will not be determined by the robots or governments or billionnaires, but by the survivors.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 2nd, 2021, 2:29 pm 

Serpent, you're as slippery as an eel!

Vat, that was an extraordinarily good post, clear and to the point. Precisely.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 2nd, 2021, 3:04 pm 

charon » May 2nd, 2021, 1:29 pm wrote:Serpent, you're as slippery as an eel!

It's okay; I wear rubber gloves.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 3rd, 2021, 6:56 am 

charon » May 2nd, 2021, 2:47 pm[/url] wrote:Mossling -

Out of that, it seems sophisticated yoga and yogic practices were born - a sophisticated 'inner technology' countermeasure to the sophistication of external agriculture.


I'm not quite sure of the connection between yoga practices and agriculture. I don't think that was their purpose.

You invented that reductionist relationship.
I said there was agricultural innovation, which seemed to have triggered the Axial Age - which caused philosophers all over the planet to look into the riddle "know thyself" in order to avoid the pitfalls of excess, and thus stay balanced via the 'golden mean' - we find this explicit practice via Aristotle in Greece and Confucius in China.

As a part of that investigation into 'knowing thyself', it seems Vedic priests got to better know their mortal dimension by inhabiting graveyards, asceticism, hanging upside-down from trees, and sitting in meditation. The more kungfu-like Asanas you see today are not preserved in the archaeological record and could have quite likely passed into India from China (Iyengar learned his 'yoga' from a military calisthenics teacher in a town famous for wrestling).

I learned most of the above from some fascinating lectures on YouTube from experts in the field at SOAS, London.

So the real "relationship" seems to be:

Huge changes to basic survival needs procurement (agriculture) around 6000 years ago, leading to the comforts of 'guaranteed' seasonal sustenance plus great excess sustenance accumulation, leading to a more 'comfortable' existence in general than that experienced by hunter gatherers who are dependent on less predictable, more chaotic sources of sustenance.

The agriculturalists' increased level of comfort opened new problems for them to tackle - such as their inevitable mortality, and the encountering of mortality on a regular basis, which became much more intensely suffered due to it occurring against the new more comfortable agricultural backdrop. Thus, philosophers of various sorts began to explore death more intensely - via self-mortification practices and so on.

I recall that it has already been predicted by the AI 'gurus,' etc., that the philosophical and spiritual 'industries' will blossom much more intensely once the post-work social situation arrives.

But then again, we can't know what will have happened with BitCoin, space travel, internet(s), fresh scientific insight/breakthroughs, and so on by that time.

Perhaps we're no better positioned than Kubrick and Clarke writing '2001 A Space Odyssey' 33 years before the date.

All this speculation might be pointless - we might even get invaded by aliens before the 15 years arrives ; P.

But some things we might get right - comparisons of Hal to Siri or AlphaGo have been made, for example.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 3rd, 2021, 7:11 am 

TheVat » May 3rd, 2021, 12:08 am wrote:One, how to differentiate between the deeper satisfactions of work (of any kind, wage-earning or no) and mere time-killing. That's a whole thread, right there. What satisfies a poet might not satisfy a builder, and dutiful philosophers would grapple with the word "work" itself.

Two, the tension between viewing humans as innately creative individuals or as pawns on some socioeconomic chessboard. The former suggests adaptations to whatever changes come (the optimist position) while the latter conjures a darker picture of victimization by broad social forces and technological changes. I see variations on both here, and middle positions as well.

Three, the tension between capitalism (which has no moral center) and the human need to provide a moral center, to nurture nonmaterial values, and to find some spiritual meaning. The philosophic task is often set as how to balance the needs for material sufficiency with the need for some moral and spiritual values. I'd say one particular task for all sides here is to grapple with the way capitalism keeps redefining wealth and material sufficiency. Most of us just get swept along by these waves of redefinition, unless we are very consciously making decisions about our true needs.

All great points.

Science seems to be getting quite clear about what is necessary for human contentment - the famous Harvard positive psychology course (lecture series freely available on youtube) points towards flow state as the optimal 'positive' experience (only recognised as enjoyable in retrospect), and that flow state occurs when we meet a challenge in a way that our skills are able to help us overcome the challenge only with fine attention to the details of the present moment, otherwise we suffer anxiety or boredom (because the challenge is too great, or our skills are too great, respectively).

Of course, the challenge itself could be dealing with repetitive arrivals of anxiety or boredom themselves, and so humans will probably most likely look to the 'arts' of dealing with anxiety and boredom in the absence of any other art to pursue. Of course there'll be the usual sociopaths plotting to take over the world, etc., and so there'll still be 'work' to be done in public sector and so on.

Perhaps looking at what goes on in prisons might be a useful area of study - what people jailed for long life sentences do productively and for self-cultivation when not having to work - exercise, reading, socialising, basketball, learning handyman skills ... and of course all the bad stuff... Perhaps that's a microcosm of what a post-work society will be up to?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 3rd, 2021, 9:36 am 

Mossling -

agricultural innovation, which seemed to have triggered the Axial Age


Seemed to have?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 3rd, 2021, 9:48 am 

charon » May 3rd, 2021, 8:36 am wrote:Mossling -

agricultural innovation, which seemed to have triggered the Axial Age


Seemed to have?


Hardly the pith and crux of Mossling's message! The concept of the Axial Age
https://www.britannica.com/list/the-axial-age-5-fast-facts is not statically defined or delimited: the only absolute 'knowns' are contemporary documents from when a philosophy has already become emblematic of a society. Its roots go back through an unknown distance into the past. The eastern roots go back considerably earlier than the western.* Given the dispute and conjecture surrounding psychological anthropology, ancient philosophy and early religion, it would be hubris to claim an exact spacial-temporal junction of any two of its vertices.
Nevertheless, the hypothesis has a good deal of merit, and is worth reflecting on in some depth.

*Here's another "seems like": Far eastern culture and philosophy tends to be pacific, slow-spreading, slow-changing and stable for long periods, while their European, and more recently American counterparts are volatile, conflict-ridden, fast-moving and quickly obsolete. Think urRu vs Skeksis https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083791/ The most iconic film I know.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 3rd, 2021, 11:09 am 

Probably those men in caves were questioning their existence. 'Know thyself' didn't begin with agriculture. It's nonsense.

Nice idea, though. The answer lies in the soil :-)
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 3rd, 2021, 1:29 pm 

charon » May 3rd, 2021, 10:09 am wrote:Probably those men in caves were questioning their existence. 'Know thyself' didn't begin with agriculture. It's nonsense.


Sometimes the depth of your erudition and insight threaten to give me DCS.

Nice idea, though. The answer lies in the soil :-)

Where lies the question?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 3rd, 2021, 10:05 pm 

Yeah, Charon, you're not giving any evidence or examples to back up your statements. This feels a lot more like a chat with a drunk guy than any kind of academic discourse.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 4th, 2021, 2:21 am 

I don't need to back up anything. Nonsense is nonsense.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby TheVat on May 4th, 2021, 9:55 am 

Serpent » May 2nd, 2021, 10:51 am wrote:For what it may be worth, this pessimist has a higher opinion of individual humans than Wells did. I don't think that, liberated from the anxiety of bare survival, people's brains would turn to mush, nor that they would squander all their lives in aimless pleasure.....

My opinion of societies is quite different.
Over the very long term, I envision something more like Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time
....


Yes, Wells is an uber pessimist on this, and I thank you for reminding me of Moorcock -- I recall reading the first novel of that trilogy, An Alien Heat, decades ago. He seems to have influenced a lot of writers, including Doug Adams, with his humour. I don't think he's wrong in guessing that aesthetics comes to dominate human life when there is that much mastery of the physical environment.

As for population problems, it's hard to say if we will have ecosystem collapse and a massive dieback, or if the present trend in dropping fertility will address the problem in more of a "Children of Men" scenario. It's possible that endocrine disrupting chemicals in our food and water will more thoroughly decimate us than any collapse.

Mossling wrote about the flow state....

...occurs when we meet a challenge in a way that our skills are able to help us overcome the challenge only with fine attention to the details of the present moment, otherwise we suffer anxiety or boredom (


And I can see how the arts would be a refuge from existential ennui for most people. I can easily imagine fully automated futures where creating challenging simulations is a dominant artform, and many find a flow state in recreations of earlier historical periods or even fantastic realms that never existed. There are segments of present society that already choose such pastimes, from Civil War reenactment clubs to online gamers.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby TheVat on May 4th, 2021, 10:02 am 

charon » May 3rd, 2021, 11:21 pm wrote:I don't need to back up anything. Nonsense is nonsense.


Not how discourse is done here. Dismissals as "nonsense" do need supporting facts. You've read the forum guidelines when you joined, I assume?

Politics is a topical area where it's especially easy to go off the rails, so it's all the more important to back up assertions.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 4th, 2021, 10:20 am 

TheVat » May 4th, 2021, 10:55 pm wrote:I can easily imagine fully automated futures where creating challenging simulations is a dominant artform, and many find a flow state in recreations of earlier historical periods or even fantastic realms that never existed. There are segments of present society that already choose such pastimes, from Civil War reenactment clubs to online gamers.

Absolutely.
People have pastimes already - even if that's training for hotdog or chilli eating contests.
Everyone can find their 'thing' - their challenge to flow along with, and as you say there are plenty of challenges that haven't even appeared yet.

Soccer on Mars, anyone?

The only limits on one's life 'satisfaction' is one's imagination, ultimately.

And even if one isn't particularly creative, lots of cool pastimes, sports, computer games, disciplines, instruments, and so on have already been made, not to mention clubs and institutions of various sorts.

No doubt pottering around building robots will become ever more popular and easy to do. Kids today are going to robotics clubs. I'm pretty sure this is just the start of something that will grow bigger and bigger.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 4th, 2021, 12:14 pm 

...

All right, Vat, as it's you, and not just because you're the moderator.

Saying it's nonsense isn't an assertion as it's understood. It's not an opinion if one uses one's brain and knows something about the subject.

The fact is Mossling (I've met him before) wants to draw me into a speculative discussion. One can't have a discussion about speculation, there's nothing to discuss.

Nothing in the issue here is factual. It's theory, as shown by the words both Mossling and Serpent have used. Here they are:

agricultural innovation, which seemed to have triggered

it apparently triggered the 'Axial Age'


So they don't know whether it triggered it (if indeed anything definite did, it may have just evolved), it's speculation. Semblance and appearance are not facts.

which caused philosophers all over the planet to look into the riddle "know thyself" in order to avoid the pitfalls of excess


It did not. 'Know thyself' was considered by the Ancient Hindus long before the Greeks got hold of it. And the truth of it was doubtless realised long before that.

Common sense says that it's absurd that philosophers, if they were indeed real philosophers and not just intellectuals, were merely regurgitating the 'know thyself' mantra because of something to do with agricultural farming. If they did, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the seriousness behind that phrase 'know thyself'. It was just some meaningless intellectual exercise. They may have taken it terribly seriously and gone loopy about it but that's not the point.

It's not me who has to prove or disprove this, it's an absurd claim. It's up to Mossling and anybody else who claims it. Where are his links and references? Instead he uses speculative words to give it the semblance of fact. If it's fact then let's see it.

Vedic priests got to better know their mortal dimension by inhabiting graveyards, asceticism, hanging upside-down from trees, and sitting in meditation.

philosophers of various sorts began to explore death more intensely - via self-mortification practices and so on.


Do you, or any serious person, honestly think that the beauty and depth of that statement 'know thyself' has anything to do with hanging round graveyards, self-mortification, or any of that kind of silliness? It's ignorant, superstitious nonsense, obviously. It may not be nonsense that they did it - I'm sure they did - but it's complete nonsense in itself.

I learned most of the above from some fascinating lectures on YouTube


But not a single link. Why aren't you on his back about that?

Mossling also said this:

Out of that, it seems sophisticated yoga and yogic practices were born - a sophisticated 'inner technology' countermeasure to the sophistication of external agriculture.


What a lot of utter rot. Yoga was designed as a way of life for physical, moral and spiritual development. It goes back at least 5,000 years and some say as much as 10,000.

There are any number of sites on the history and origins of yoga. They're easily found so I won't clog up the post with them. But not a single one mentions farming, agriculture, a reaction to excess, or anything of the kind.

If Mossling has any links to contradict that, let him post them.

As for Serpent, I'm sorry to drag him into it as well but he supported Mossling's statement:

Hardly the pith and crux of Mossling's message!


These are his words from that post -

concept of the Axial Age
not statically defined or delimited
Its roots go back through an unknown distance into the past
hypothesis


So again, all vague speculation and conjecture. There's nothing to discuss. The inner life is not a reaction to something. Reactions bind, they never liberate, and liberation is the point. 'Know thyself' is certainly the highest wisdom but one doesn't come to it by indulging in self-torture, hanging upside down, or silly stuff like that. The West has also pursued those sorts of things, as is well-known, and recently too. They still whip themselves to pieces at some religious festival or other.

So, as I said, it's all nonsense and not worthy of serious consideration. Personally, I think Mossling is reading all the wrong kinds of books and looking in all the wrong directions. Wisdom isn't knowledge, including esoteric knowledge; anybody can collect knowledge.

If we seriously want to know ourselves and find out the truth behind Yoga, and so on, it demands a great deal of looking at ourselves. Everything, from the highest to the lowest, is in us, so that's where to look - to look and transcend what we see, for therein lies truth.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 4th, 2021, 12:45 pm 

TheVat » May 4th, 2021, 8:55 am wrote:
And I can see how the arts would be a refuge from existential ennui for most people. I can easily imagine fully automated futures where creating challenging simulations is a dominant artform, and many find a flow state in recreations of earlier historical periods or even fantastic realms that never existed. There are segments of present society that already choose such pastimes, from Civil War reenactment clubs to online gamers.


Yes, but I still believe artistic endeavour is only part of it. Assuming that some form of civilized, structured, law-abiding society continues; assuming, too, that we get the population under control and safely fed, I think people will also need, want and create meaningful work in more practical areas of endeavour.
Maslow was no dummy; his pyramid won't fall over just because robots clean the sewers.
https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-maslows-hierarchy-of-needs-4136760
I don't think people will lose their need for the respect of their community or a chance to earn it. One reliable indicator is what healthy older people do when they retire from jobs. A great many volunteer in every imaginable capacity of service to their fellow human beings, the environment and other species. Not just to kill time between the final paycheque and death: they care; they want to matter; they want to express obligation or even gratitude for a successful life. Another thing they very often do is start a new enterprise - a craft or business in which they can use skills or proclivities or talent that's been denied an outlet in the constraints of employment. These low-profit and unpaid efforts account for some 20% of the economy or nearly half of the 'non-monetized layer of the cake' in Hazel Henderson's model https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4673656-the-politics-of-the-solar-age?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=dNEaXDUFoy&rank=4 - the bigger half being, of course traditional 'women's work' - neither of which is counted in the GNP, which couldn't exist without it.

I'll go one step further: Unemployment is not a problem. It is employment which is an unnatural state of affairs; a perversion of social structure. I don't think human are good at being masters or slaves; bosses and minions. But they're very good at co-operating. So they follow leaders and become very good at that. Once in a while, also quite good at leading - if they're chosen for the right reasons in the right conditions.
So they let pretenders take over leadership roles and consolidate power; disguise domination as leadership and subjugation as voluntary following; indoctrinate their children to accept the given state of affairs as the natural order of things. Except, every once in a while, the overlords push down too hard and peons erupt in revolution. The medieval verse is still valid: "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who then was the gentleman?" http://www.rhymes.org.uk/a115-when-adam-delved.htm Every human being feels it in their heart. Subjugation cripples the psyche of any conscious entity, just as power corrupts it.

So, nations put into their constitutions the noble sentiment of equality, at the very same time they're already organized in tiers of overlords and underlings; landowners and tenant farmers, industrialists and labourers, the 'job-creators' and their dependent 'employees' - the influential and no-account. It's feudalism in emperor's raiment - but the bread is whiter and the circuses more lavish.
I really think we're due for a substantial change of social dynamics.

Is it really all that far-fetched to imagine owning a custom hand-built motorcycle - because somebody with a skill and a passion has the time to fashion them, instead of punching the same rivet into the same engine-housing a thousand times a day? Is it really that hard to think somebody might want to make, very slowly, very carefully, very few real wood cupboards again, that will last ten generations instead of ten years?
Excess doesn't have to be a way of life. Maybe we really don't need a new cell-phone every six months, or fifty sweaters, or disposable dishes.
And maybe --- nonsensical speculation on my part, but I don't smoke anymore and everyone is entitled to one bad habit --- one day, in the not unimaginable future, the robots will become obsolete and need to be recycled into something people do want.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 4th, 2021, 1:16 pm 

Get thee behind me, Polyhymnia and tempt me no more!
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 4th, 2021, 8:49 pm 

Serpent » May 5th, 2021, 1:45 am wrote:Is it really all that far-fetched to imagine owning a custom hand-built motorcycle - because somebody with a skill and a passion has the time to fashion them, instead of punching the same rivet into the same engine-housing a thousand times a day? Is it really that hard to think somebody might want to make, very slowly, very carefully, very few real wood cupboards again, that will last ten generations instead of ten years?
Excess doesn't have to be a way of life. Maybe we really don't need a new cell-phone every six months, or fifty sweaters, or disposable dishes.
And maybe --- nonsensical speculation on my part, but I don't smoke anymore and everyone is entitled to one bad habit --- one day, in the not unimaginable future, the robots will become obsolete and need to be recycled into something people do want.

Indeed, my sentiment exactly.
That tinkering and crafting delivers the flow state https://time.com/56809/the-science-of-p ... rformance/ , which is apparently the 'peak' human performance/experience positioned at the top of Maslow's pyramid.
It doesn't have to be in a glamorous context, or even have an audience, but it seems to deliver the eudaimonia so cherished by the ancient Greeks https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... -happiness, or the skill-based insights into the Dao that ChuangTzu mentioned https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... in_Context
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 4th, 2021, 9:17 pm 

charon » May 5th, 2021, 1:14 am wrote:Nothing in the issue here is factual. It's theory, as shown by the words both Mossling and Serpent have used. Here they are:

agricultural innovation, which seemed to have triggered

it apparently triggered the 'Axial Age'


So they don't know whether it triggered it (if indeed anything definite did, it may have just evolved), it's speculation. Semblance and appearance are not facts.

It's called hedging, old sport:
"An important feature of academic writing is the concept of cautious language, often called “hedging” or “vague language“. In other words, it is necessary to make decisions about your stance on a particular subject, or the strength of the claims you are making."
https://www.academic-englishuk.com/hedging

which caused philosophers all over the planet to look into the riddle "know thyself" in order to avoid the pitfalls of excess


It did not. 'Know thyself' was considered by the Ancient Hindus long before the Greeks got hold of it. And the truth of it was doubtless realised long before that.

Please could you provide a reference to support this (unhedged) assertion.

Common sense says

This is not the "common sense chat forum", it's a science chat forum. In order to gain a common view, evidence is required (especially if requested).



It's not me who has to prove or disprove this, it's an absurd claim. It's up to Mossling and anybody else who claims it. Where are his links and references? Instead he uses speculative words to give it the semblance of fact. If it's fact then let's see it.

Vedic priests got to better know their mortal dimension by inhabiting graveyards, asceticism, hanging upside-down from trees, and sitting in meditation.

philosophers of various sorts began to explore death more intensely - via self-mortification practices and so on.


Do you, or any serious person, honestly think that the beauty and depth of that statement 'know thyself' has anything to do with hanging round graveyards, self-mortification, or any of that kind of silliness? It's ignorant, superstitious nonsense, obviously. It may not be nonsense that they did it - I'm sure they did - but it's complete nonsense in itself.

I learned most of the above from some fascinating lectures on YouTube


But not a single link. Why aren't you on his back about that?

I'm perfectly happy to provide references if anything I say does not 'vibe' with any member of this forum, and I certainly will not have a tantrum when it is requested. I understand the rules and the 'process' here.

So here you are:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wl_ZXBMpKXU
by Dr James Mallinson, SOAS

I look forward to seeing your evidence that you think so assuredly and obviously counters the very possible origins of yoga, as I sourced from the above ACADEMIC video.

For linking early Vedic yoga with 'Axial Age':
https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... nscendence
"The distinctive contribution of the Axial Age is the innovation of sustained spiritual practice to effect a “systematic deconstruction” of ordinary consciousness and effect a transformation of the self. India is paradigmatic with well-known forms like Hindu yoga and Buddhist meditation. Taoism, clearly, and with some demonstration, Confucianism are shown to be Chinese analogues focused on the idea of self-cultivation. For Greece, the work of Pierre Hadot is seminal: philosophy as practically focused on the spiritual transformation of the self through askesis."

For linking Axial Age with the emergence of agriculture:
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1mtz5rc
"It might be said that the first true “Axial Age” for humans was the transition from hunting and gathering to agriculture around 10,000 Bce. This shift in human patterns of survival has been associated with the onset of the Holocene geological period, which began with a warming of the earth that liberated many plant species from their frozen state in the last Ice Age.¹ The development of agriculture made possible the maintenance of larger human populations due to the creation of economic surpluses, but it also led to greater inequality among people."

(Just a warning there - there's hedging in the writing, because it's good academic practice)

I enjoy this process, myself, because we all actually learn something, beyond mere assertions of what one person deems to be "common sense".

And these topics are useful to this thread because we are looking at what seems to be quite a similar significant transition from hunter gatherer to agriculturalist - this time, from industrialist to post-work economic status.

With all the free time that will be available to people due to their technological sophistication, it appears that such people will need to counterbalance their situation with increased spiritual/philosophical sophistication in order to not suffer the loss of previous happiness-delivering process - such as happiness gained from beliefs in 'work ethics', and so on. In fact, this is a topic I have already explored in other threads on this forum, if you are interested:
http://sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=82&t=32833
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 5th, 2021, 4:33 am 

Mossling -

Let's be clear. The lecture on Yoga does not mention farming.

The first link is to a site that requires one to order the full text from the author, which I'm not going to do. Your snippet is about Yoga, etc, but doesn't mention farming.

The second link is an advert for a book, which I'm not going to access. Again, neither your snippet nor the extracts on the site mention Yoga.

So where are we now? And what has any of this to do with thread subject which is the effects of AI on the modern world of work?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 5th, 2021, 4:44 am 

At the risk of being lewd, there was quite a good moment in your lecture video. He said the word Āsana comes from the Sanskrit word arse, meaning to sit. I found that fairly amusing :-)

I forgot this:

'Know thyself' was considered by the Ancient Hindus long before the Greeks got hold of it. And the truth of it was doubtless realised long before that.


Please could you provide a reference to support this (unhedged) assertion.


'Know Thyself' on the Temple of Apollo: 560 BCE

Vedas: 1500 BCE.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 5th, 2021, 5:13 am 

charon » May 5th, 2021, 5:44 pm wrote:At the risk of being lewd, there was quite a good moment in your lecture video. He said the word Āsana comes from the Sanskrit word arse, meaning to sit. I found that fairly amusing :-)

Well that's something at least.
So you don't have access to journals I'm guessing. Anyway, my links at least show you that there is an academically viable argument to make about what I have said, whilst you seem to consider merely yourself an 'academic authority' on all matters.

I have provided links to academic evidence, whilst you haven't provided anything at all. So I guess I'm more likely to be right then, and you are most likely wrong.

No, he didn't mention the connection with farming in that video, that's not what I asserted. I provided you with other evidence about that. Where's yours?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 5th, 2021, 8:23 am 

charon » May 5th, 2021, 3:33 am wrote:
clear.
I'm not going to do.
snippet
I'm not going to access.
Again

So where are we now?


That makes sense.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 5th, 2021, 9:15 am 

Mossling -

I think you touched on a relevant [to our current situation] step of social development in the reference to the Axial Age*. We may well be - as the kids so lustily sang in Hair
- on the threshold of another axial period; another psycho-social shift.

*It's unfortunate that the academic idea itself is so ill-defined, or that the roots are so hard to trace, or that every dot isn't connected up loudly enough for every listener in every lecture. We'll just have to make do, wot?

Anyway, there's a lot more to that development. On the one side is asceticism as a rejection of and proposed antidote to material excess. Material excess had never been experienced before, had never been possible before agriculture, and it gave rise to a massive shift in human organization, relationships - and, of course, thought. The excess to which the philosophers and mystics were responding is another side of the social consequences of agriculture (it has many) that we're still experiencing today.

What I'd like to touch on is the Western counterpart in religious and moral philosophies, which gave rise to the class system as we know we it: the concept of knowing one's place, the Catholic reproductive code, the cult of guilt and self-denial and the Protestant work ethic. Seeing a pattern yet? This is organized religion, not as moral compass, but as enforcer of hierarchy.

So, maybe we're grappling with the beginnings of an age where all of those philosophies are obsolete - a hindrance to clarity. According to the developmental schedule, we should be wrapping up the age of excess and unfolding the age of universal self-actualization - for which we do not yet have a comprehensive philosophy or moral framework. Should be - if we find, very quickly, an effective way to deal with the detritus of the age of excess, which may yet render us moot as well as purblind.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 6th, 2021, 12:56 am 

Serpent » May 5th, 2021, 10:15 pm wrote:So, maybe we're grappling with the beginnings of an age where all of those philosophies are obsolete - a hindrance to clarity. According to the developmental schedule, we should be wrapping up the age of excess and unfolding the age of universal self-actualization - for which we do not yet have a comprehensive philosophy or moral framework. Should be - if we find, very quickly, an effective way to deal with the detritus of the age of excess, which may yet render us moot as well as purblind.

Very good points.
I don't tend to like applying previous historical adjustments to quite different, new situations - that's not how an airplane was eventually built, for example. So I am tentative when it comes to the idea of there potentially being a significant social pivot of sorts on the scale of the 'Axial Age.'

That said, I very much like what you have said about the various class systems apparently created by agricultural excesses - where individual families seem to have tended to own the land where the surplus 'stocks and shares' are stored/guarded, or else they 'own' or oversee (and can edit) the details of the economic legal infrastructure that outlines what can go where - leading to the nepotism/bribery/special interest that seemingly creates the "haves and have-nots" of those systems.

In a post-work society, the "have-nots" are no longer so impoverished, however - they can easily gain access to all the basics that they need in order to flourish - and especially so a decent education as I have mentioned recently above - as regards the 'democratization' of what has traditionally been referred to as an 'expensive' education through computing and AI. That is most certainly on its way.

And one of the most glaring class 'postures' I have seen in the UK, for example, is that in order for a poorly educated working class person to obtain job-seekers welfare payments, they must somehow prove that they cannot take existing work - or else take up existing work opportunities, whilst an 'upper class' person with a stocks and shares portfolio that is being managed by one of their clever chums from school, does not need to do any work at all, and will receive considerably more 'free money' than the lower class job-seeker.

What is more, for those 'lower class' jobless who do not want to jump through the hoops to get their 'free money,' then they are branded as toxic members of society who are as yet 'un-caught'; 'un-punished,' but need to keep looking over their shoulders, and so can never feel truly comfortable.

So even though welfare exists for the poorly educated, it still does not resemble anything like the post-work UBI type situation.

It is very difficult to imagine how the dynamics of a society could/will change - towards any new Axial Age or otherwise.

That said, I do believe that the economics of basic human behaviour will continue to exist and keep everyone on their toes - the cheaters Vs the altruists (as outlined by the likes of Axelrod or Dawkins). It's just that levels of poverty - physical and educational, will seemingly not exist in the same way/to the same level as before.
Will that really 'rock the boat' to the extent you are imagining?

Has the agricultural class structure/paradigm been all revolving around severe material and educational poverty all along? Or does some significant portion of any society always 'like' to be lazy on the educational as well as civil front - to the point that they create their own extremes of poverty no matter the setting?
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby charon on May 6th, 2021, 8:14 am 

...
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Serpent on May 6th, 2021, 6:00 pm 

Mossling » May 5th, 2021, 11:56 pm wrote:
I don't tend to like applying g previous historical adjustments to quite different, new situations - that's not how an airplane was eventually built, for example. So I am tentative when it comes to the idea of there potentially being a significant social pivot of sorts on the scale of the 'Axial Age.'

We don't got to marry the Axial Age! It's an idea, that's all: a convenient shorthand term for a group of interrelated events and processes that would take far too long to detail, especially when you just need it as a point of historical reference. The significance of the phrase is minimal, compared to the significance of the events to which it refers.

In fact, we can see, in any historical or evolutionary timeline, the particular factors that are significant to the subject matter we're discussing at a given time. Jaspers was using that period, and that phrase as a reference-point for the issues that interested him: the development of the philosophies and religions and mind-sets which shaped the psychic medium of his time. I think it's appropriate for us to choose points of departure we consider significant to a mind-set which dominates our time, and that is challenged by imminent change.

That said, I very much like what you have said about the various class systems apparently created by agricultural excesses[ - where individual families seem to have tended to own the land where the surplus 'stocks and shares' are stored/guarded, or else they 'own' or oversee (and can edit) the details of the economic legal infrastructure that outlines what can go where - leading to the nepotism/bribery/special interest that seemingly creates the "haves and have-nots" of those systems.


There is not much conjecture there: the advent of farming, permanent settlements, land-ownership, division of labour leading to increased specialization, status and wealth are quite well - and widely - documented. It may begin with those families who settled the most fertile land (and maybe have the most sons to work it and/or most efficient method) gaining prestige and wealth through production in excess of their own need: they are in a position to trade food for everything they want. Foodstuffs are universal trade-goods (with a madly fluctuating market-value, granted, but if you have the means to store it up against lean times, priceless). If one family is in a position to sustain the community during a drought or locust year, by the end of that year, the head of that family is the head of that village.
Moreover, wealth is self-perpetuating, self-aggrandizing: the more land you own, the more food you grow, the more of your offspring survive to work more land, grow more food, store more food, bestow more food and gain the land of less successful farmers, farmers whose sons died - of malnutrition, disease in fights over the marginal assets you don't own yet - and their daughters bring dowries to your sons... Six generations on, your descendent owns everything, everyone else is in his debt or works for him and there are no other candidates for mayor.
And the pattern expands to communities: one town grows more prosperous than its neighbouring town and grows and grows and accumulates dependent and subject towns; grows into a nation-state, and empire....

(And now, we come to the kind of excess the ascetics so feared. When you've had not-enough, or barely-enough for a long time, it's hard to stop at enough. The haves keep on accumulating, and showing it off, and wanting more... bigger, shinier, finer, rarer, faster, better... more. This was painfully evident in the lifestyles of the Mughal nobility. Of course, the correct answer to excess isn't privation; it's sufficiency.)

Because of this scenario playing out in thousands agrarian communities on three continents, then four then five, over several thousand years, the origin of other aspects of society as we know it also become evident. The incalculable advantage of land-ownership and control of production (> property of all kinds); inheritance (>the imperative to produce legitimate heirs) population growth (> crowding, poverty, the commodification of fertile women) competition over territory; armed conflict with other tribes (> standing army, specialization of fighting men; chain of command) Have-nots are unlikely to go along with this agenda voluntarily, but they're already screwed: hunger makes them dependent; the army makes them obedient.

Meanwhile, more kinds of work need doing. Farmers need tools; domesticated animals need harness; the grain needs grinding; cider apples need pressing, houses need building, builders need a whole other set of tools, plus logs from way over there and stones from the quarry yonder, it all needs moving from place to place.... All these specialized jobs are practiced by fewer, held in higher esteem, and rewarded at a higher hourly rate, than tilling the soil. So we have four almost instant (only took 50-100 or so generations) economic tiers: peasant, soldier, tradesman, landowner.
The structure of human society changed in a fundamental way, and that has consequences on the human psyche as well as the human physique.

Such an [to me, evidently unnatural] edifice, like a sand-castle, requires a great deal of protection and scaffolding to last. Supporting such and edifice requires an expenditure of energy and resources. The humans who are best served by the new arrangement set about building the necessary supports - spent an enormous portion of their ingenuity and wealth on shoring up the social as well as the concrete integrity of their new city-states. It also required a huge amount of surplus manpower to defend, police, administer, organize, allocate, enforce, supervise, tax and tally – and that’s before personal services to the elite.
My hypothesis is that the philosophies which arose from that agriculture-to-modern organizational shift are the psychological scaffolding of this new, unnatural structure of societies. If the economic hierarchy breaks down, they won’t be required anymore. An awful lot of pieces will come tumbling down, as well.

In a post-work society, the "have-nots" are no longer so impoverished, however - they can easily gain access to all the basics that they need in order to flourish - and especially so a decent education as I have mentioned recently above - as regards the 'democratization' of what has traditionally been referred to as an 'expensive' education through computing and AI. That is most certainly on its way.

Much of this has already happened with industrialization and electronic communication, creating greater freedom for the lower strata; more social mobility; an erosion of class boundaries and privilege.

And one of the most glaring class 'postures' I have seen in the UK, for example, is that in order for a poorly educated working class person to obtain job-seekers welfare payments, they must somehow prove that they cannot take existing work - or else take up existing work opportunities, whilst an 'upper class' person with a stocks and shares portfolio that is being managed by one of their clever chums from school, does not need to do any work at all, and will receive considerably more 'free money' than the lower class job-seeker.

Money is a medium of exchange, as they say. What's being exchanged? Substances move from place to place, changes form, changes appearance --- but it's not created or destroyed.

As the working class is abolished (we barely acknowledge its existence now, except as the butt of low humour!) and its work disappears, the lower middle class splits in two: the semi-skilled and skilled factory workers either join the permanently unemployed (idle yobs) or the tradesmen who become independent entrepreneurs. Some mega-corporations thrive; some crash and sink. The stock market fluctuates madly, as ‘investors’ rush from one ‘coming thing’ to the next high-risk, high-yield venture – short, erratic cycles of boom and bust – only, the gamblers no longer take the whole country with them. The population at large is no longer at the mercy of its most callous, oblivious members.

So even though welfare exists for the poorly educated, it still does not resemble anything like the post-work UBI type situation.

Of course not! The kind of social safety net that exists now – even in the more social responsible nations – was patched together – against strenuous resistance from the right-wing factions – over half a century or longer - for the purpose of saving people who “fall through the cracks” of the existing economy. It’s only intended as an extension of employment benefits (pension, sick-leave, Unemployment insurance) or a temporary support for people incapacitated by disability, extreme youth, child-bearing and military service. It’s limited by the estimate of how big the cracks are. We’re just finding out, the painful way, how far wrong those estimates had become.
Under the weight of 6-7% unemployment, it’s groaning alarmingly. At 10%, it will be woefully inadequate. By the time we reach 50% permanent unemployment, the whole thing will already have broken down. If intelligent steps are taken between 7% and 12%, we have a chance of averting mass rioting and disorder. UBI is part of that response: an interim solution. The economic restructuring that will be required to finance it is starts the dismantling of the present pyramid. All kinds of other changes will have to take place.

It is very difficult to imagine how the dynamics of a society could/will change - towards any new Axial Age or otherwise.

I’m imagining it all the time!

That said, I do believe that the economics of basic human behaviour will continue to exist and keep everyone on their toes - the cheaters Vs the altruists (as outlined by the likes of Axelrod or Dawkins). It's just that levels of poverty - physical and educational, will seemingly not exist in the same way/to the same level as before.
Will that really 'rock the boat' to the extent you are imagining?


Probably more. As I said, it’s not a mere matter of who is rich and how poor is poor – it’s more a matter of “What constitutes wealth?” and how people perceive their own place and function in society. Do we know what 'basic human behaviour' is? Is any human basic, rather than contextual? How much of the behaviour we observe (from a pov in our own social context) is in response to unchosen, unwanted, baffling, frustrating, provoking, repressive, overstimulating, overwhelming, unnatural situations? We don't know. It will be another generation's - many generations' - adventure to find out what human+behaviour becomes.

Has the agricultural class structure/paradigm been all revolving around severe material and educational poverty all along?

I don't think so. Seems like poverty has been more of an unplanned by-product, like waste and pollution. The class structure serves wealth and power: it arose from the practical requirements of increasingly complex society, but elements were added and all of it controlled by the wealthy and powerful to protect their own interest.

Or does some significant portion of any society always 'like' to be lazy on the educational as well as civil front - to the point that they create their own extremes of poverty no matter the setting?

Very, very few people are just ‘lazy’ – even in this psychologically thwarted and disease-ridden era. A great many people are tired, depressed, dispirited, discouraged, despondent and have given up trying, because what’s the use; we can't win.
Given the opportunity, most people will find something they want to do. If some want to lie on the beach in the only pair of trunks they own – so what; it doesn't not harm anybody.

Parasitism is a different matter – that’s not about saving one’s own effort; that’s about appropriating other people’s. I’m guessing it’s more akin to the impulse to win at cards by cheating, seduce another woman’s husband, swindle a competitor in a business deal – a covert aggression. That, and all manner of domination of others, is something from which every community needs to protect itself and its members.
How to do that, how humans deal with humans – that will be a whole new development of philosophies and social structures to support the next kind of social organization.
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Re: Living in a soon-to-be AI-driven Society (within 15 yrs)

Postby Mossling on May 7th, 2021, 12:30 am 

Serpent » May 7th, 2021, 7:00 am wrote: Do we know what 'basic human behaviour' is? Is any human basic, rather than contextual? How much of the behaviour we observe (from a pov in our own social context) is in response to unchosen, unwanted, baffling, frustrating, provoking, repressive, overstimulating, overwhelming, unnatural situations? We don't know. It will be another generation's - many generations' - adventure to find out what human+behaviour becomes.

Well, there's Robert Axelrod's 'Evolution of Cooperative Behaviour,' and the now infamous beautifully simple 'tit-for-tat' basic economic 'pattern' underneath what seems to be ANY human society. That's what I'm using at present. If you are not familiar with it, I highly recommend checking it out, or a brief video intro:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rWrrwKU3_uc

Altruistic Tit-for-tat isn't a strategy trusted by the majority, however, and so it tends to get bogged down in punishing cheaters whilst cooperating with fellow cooperators ('nice guys').

Again, no matter hunter-gather or agriculturalist, the situation seems to be the same. Dawkins elaborates further on it in 'The Selfish Gene.'

Parasitism is a different matter – that’s not about saving one’s own effort; that’s about appropriating other people’s. I’m guessing it’s more akin to the impulse to win at cards by cheating, seduce another woman’s husband, swindle a competitor in a business deal – a covert aggression. That, and all manner of domination of others, is something from which every community needs to protect itself and its members.
How to do that, how humans deal with humans – that will be a whole new development of philosophies and social structures to support the next kind of social organization.

Totally, and that's covered by Axelrod and Dawkins - especially Dawkins in 'The Selfish Gene.'

It seems parasitism is inescapable in human societies, and that's where I veer towards Hegel's view on cycles of War and Peace. It seems the ultimate ideal of a utopian society where everyone is Altruistic is impossible. Humans are opportunists it seems - in both altruism AND parasitism.
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